This blog has always been a reflection of my life’s intersection with technology. Because of that, I tend to write about things that I am interested in or considering buying myself (in this case I recently purchased a 4K HDR Samsung TV). As I was researching the best new TVs — and as I read the specs of the upcoming Xbox One S with it’s HDR gaming capability — I realized I wanted not just a 4K Ultra-High Definition (UHD) TV, but an HDR TV as well.
People said that 3D was going to be a big deal. It wasn’t. People said that 4K was going to blow us away. The difference compared to 1080P HD wasn’t quite all that it was cracked up to be (though, of course, it is better — and I film all of my videos for DailyTekk in 4K). Then people said HDR was actually going to matter. And I think last statement is actually true.
If you didn’t know already, HDR stands for High Dynamic Range. You might recognize those three letters from your phone which may be capable of taking HDR photos. While it stands for the same thing, the results are actually quite different between HDR photos on your phone and HDR video on the latest TVs. HDR video makes a very noticeable difference when it comes to contrast and colors: in both categories the performance is markedly better. In other words, if you compared two similar 4K TVs side by side — one with HDR and one without — you would definitely be able to tell (whereas plenty of people have had trouble telling the difference between a 4K TV and an HD TV).
Remember HD DVDs? Maybe you don’t… but that format was competing with Blu-Ray Discs in the not-too-distant past and, as you know, Blu-Ray won the day. Well HDR is experiencing a similar battle right now as two competing formats slug it out for dominance: HDR10 and Dolby Vision. In terms of buying an HDR TV, this means you might not be able to play all HDR content unless your TV supports both formats (and no, unfortunately you can’t upgrade a TV with HDR10 to also play Dobly Vision as a physical chip and licensing is required, among other things).
So HDR video is pretty new which begs the question: is it worth buying an HDR TV right ...